MJ Photographer Matthew Rolston Gets Smashbox Visual Impact Award

Sources: WWD – By Jasmin Rosemberg | All Things Michael

ca. 2007 --- Michael Jackson --- Image by © MR Photo/Corbis Outline

To say that Los Angeles native Matthew Rolston broke into the photography business “rapidly” would hardly be sufficient. “My very first client was Andy Warhol for Interview magazine,” he recalls. “My second client was Harper’s Bazaar. My third client was Michael Jackson.” He then rethinks this. “Actually, my third client was Jann Wenner, for Rolling Stone,” he clarifies.

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Rolston had crossed paths with Warhol socially at the artist’s nightclub the Factory in New York, but the opportunity at Warhol’s Interview came when a stylist friend from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena — where Rolston studied photography then, and teaches courses now — called about a last-minute job. “And lo and behold, I got my first assignment for a magazine.” Rolston says, “And it was to shoot Steven Spielberg.”

Photographing Harrison Ford and a then-unknown “Star Wars” cast followed — as did a plethora of covers, and a fashion-forward shoot with Jackson. (Later, Rolston would be the last to photograph the pop icon, for his “Thriller” relaunch, in 2007.) “I actually dressed him in some of my own clothes,” recalls Rolston, who bought an embroidered crest with a crown and the letter “J” from an “English-y” Beverly Hills men’s store, and had it sewn onto a cardigan. “And he started this whole craze that I ended up calling ‘Hollywood Royale.’ It sort of indicated the idea of royalty — that he was the King of Pop.” Only, this was prior to Jackson ever being called such.

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